Curfews are important for obvious reasons. Not only do they allow parents to get a little sleep, but they also protect teenagers from the dangers that seem to occur more frequently after midnight.
Although teenagers typically dislike time limits and will sometimes ignore them, curfews are still a "must have" rule. Curfews set boundaries, build confidence and reinforce a culture of respect within your family [source: Wolf].
Rather than setting a relatively random time for your teen's curfew, get them involved. This is one household limit that will work better if it is realistic and based on your teen's input.
Even if you jointly decide on an 11 p.m. curfew, it's OK to compromise if your teen occasionally has a good reason to ask for an extension [source: Kuczmarski]. Ideally, this compromise should be made ahead of time. If your teen calls 30 minutes before her curfew's up and begs to spend the night at a friend's house, there may be trouble afloat.
If your teenager does come home past curfew without permission, give her the chance to explain. Sometimes it will make sense; other times it won't. Either way, help her figure out what she could do differently next time. Even if she has a plausible reason, there should be a consequence. Decide in advance if you will restrict driving privileges, turn off texting or ban the TV. If alcohol or drugs are involved, the severity of consequences should be more serious.
Communicating with your teen about limits is good practice for putting them behind the wheel. Find out why on the next page.